Sorrento parks first at Camden Yards

Orioles notes

April 09, 1992|By Milton Kent and Peter Schmuck | Milton Kent and Peter Schmuck,Staff Writers

The history books will forever record that Cleveland Indians first baseman Paul Sorrento was the first player to homer in Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Is he impressed with his feat?

"Not really," said Sorrento, who hit a two-out, one-strike pitch to left field in the first inning for three runs to help guide the Indians to a 4-0 victory against the Orioles last night.

"It's a good thing. Maybe after I retire and sit down with the grandkids, I'll think about it, but it's not really a big deal now."

Sorrento, who also has the first hit in Oriole Park history -- a second-inning single to left Monday -- said he was unsure whether Brady Anderson, who leaped at the wall, had kept the ball in the park.

"I saw him go for the ball and when he slammed his glove [to the ground], I knew he didn't have it," said Sorrento. "It was kind of a sigh of relief."

Sorrento, 26, was dealt to the Indians from the Minnesota Twins on March 28.

He had bounced between the parent Twins and the Triple-A Portland Beavers and Double-A Orlando SunRays the previous three seasons and figured to sit behind Kent Hrbek, when he got word of the deal.

"When the coach called me, I figured he was telling me they were going to send me down," said Sorrento, who is 3-for-7. "I knew I was out of options, so I thought I'd have a chance to catch on after I cleared waivers. When he told me I was traded, it took me 10 minutes to pack."

Cleveland manager Mike Hargrove is happy to have Sorrento aboard.

"Obviously, it's been a big addition for us," said Hargrove. "It gives us a 5-hole hitter behind Albert [Belle], and once Paul establishes himself, I don't think they'll be able to pitch around Albert the way they've done the past couple of ballgames."

Hulett gets to play

Infielder Tim Hulett had expected to do a lot of sitting early in the season, but he was in the lineup last night, a last-minute entry into the starting lineup when Glenn Davis was scratched with a muscle strain beneath his left shoulder blade.

"I thought I'd get in in late May at the new park," Hulett said.

But that's the life of a utility infielder, and it's a life that Hulett, who hit second in the designated hitter slot, has grown accustomed to in three seasons in Baltimore.

"That's basically my job title: utility man," said Hulett. "You're on call 24 hours a day."

Hulett was particularly on call against the Indians, a team that he had a .308 career batting average against before last night, with seven home runs and 25 RBI.

He went 1-for-4 last night.

No. 2 and trying harder

Davis' injury also cost Randy Milligan his first shot at batting second in the order.

Manager John Oates, who shifted Milligan to first base and Davis' fourth spot in the order, said he intends to try Milligan in the second slot throughout the year, but won't be locked into it exclusively.

"That will happen a lot if he hits well, but it's too early in the season to know," said Oates. "Let's see what happens with him up there."

Oates said his decision to bat Milligan that high will be determined in part on who's pitching. He said he'd also like to try Bill Ripken and David Segui in the second slot, which is where Joe Orsulak batted in the opener.

Where's Chito?

On the subject of Chito Martinez, who has not come to bat this season, Oates said: "He's going to play. We can't play but nine guys. Some guys have to sit. If he had played, you'd be asking me about Segui [who started in right field]. At the moment, he's the odd man out, but I don't know about tomorrow."

Dempsey talks continue

Oates said the club is still "talking" with catcher Rick Dempsey about his role with the club. Dempsey, who was not offered a contract, is still in uniform and taking batting practice while he awaits word on whether another team will need his services.

Grounders and the like

Storm Davis, in his first appearance in a Baltimore uniform in six years, pitched 1 2/3 innings of relief and induced four ground balls during his 12-pitch stint in the seventh and eighth innings.

Anderson, however, could stand to see something other than a grounder. In eight trips to the plate this season, Anderson has grounded out six times with two strikeouts.

Five grounders have been to second, with one tapper back to the mound.

Thank God, he's a country boy

In the wake of Rick Sutcliffe's Opening Day shutout, it would appear that he is getting the run of the ballpark.

During batting practice, more than a few songs on the public address system drifted toward the country bent, Sutcliffe's music of choice.

When asked if the right-hander was starting to influence the musical selections at the park, Oates quipped, "He can do anything he wants around here right now."

Double rarity

Chris Hoiles was called for catcher's interference in the first inning last night. The call brings with it an error.

That error matches Hoiles' total for all of last season. Hoiles led all American League catchers in fielding percentage, with just one error in 477 chances, far below the league average of one in 88 chances.

Hoiles, however, continued to hit well off Cleveland starter Dave Otto, going 1-for-2, with a base hit to right in the fifth.

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